The End of Michelangelo

Copper Canyon. Oct. 2022. 128p. ISBN 9781556596599. pap. $17. POETRY
If poetry can lay claim to a healing or restorative power, it may well be found in Gerber’s poetry. In this, his 10th collection (after Particles: New and Selected Poems), Gerber draws on personal memories and the Central California landscape to reveal the fleeting, everyday marvels which are always available to us if we pay enough attention. Whether confronting a moose on a mountain trail, glimpsing a spider web’s “flash of meteor tracks/ in the moving air,” or tracing “late afternoon sunlight/ reflected off the water upslope through/ lakeside ferns and the intricate weaving of boughs, on the ceiling,” he discovers “some beacon of delight/ within the sadness of things.” The poet’s Zen openness to nature attunes him to synthesize what he sees with what he feels through spare but immediate language, summing up his poetics in one concise sentence: “Without poetry the visible and invisible/ worlds wouldn’t be aware of each other.”
VERDICT A timeless oasis of quietude in our contemporary maelstrom of uncertainty and apprehension, Gerber’s poetry vividly reminds us that while “the scale of pleasure ascends into terror…/ the pleasure is in being alive.”
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